Yellow Submarine Preschool of Art teaches kids the importance of 3E

Yellow Submarine Preschool promotes themselves as an art university scaled down for kids


Early child development is vital as the first eight years of brain development can build a foundation for future learning, health and life success. That is why, Julia Bakar founded the Yellow Submarine Preschool, the first preschool of art in Malaysia. She mentioned, “there’s an article published by the American Paediatric Association that I read where children that’s exposed to 3E which stands for experience, experiment and exploration in the first six years of their life would perform better in their academics when they are eight years old.”

She started the preschool in 2019. Before this, she was a practicing architect at a local firm and she stated, “the intention for starting this pre-school is to create a studio-based learning for kids and at first, it was just my dream but it became serious when my daughter was four years old and I could not find the right kind of kindergarten for her. Back then before I began, I sent my daughter to a Chinese Preschool so that she can master Mandarin. Two weeks in she came back with a swollen eye due to crying and hating it there so that incident opened my eyes to study more about what children need to learn.”

The Yellow Submarine Preschool’s organizes monthly workshops according to the themes set by the Ara Damansara branch

“Initially, it was very tough convincing parents as this is something that deals with their children. The idea was something new and I am not from the education industry so as much as they loved our programs, the parents were still reluctant to enroll their child,” Julia shared about her early experience of opening the preschool.

She added, “now we still face some rejection from parents but not as much as back then because we have built our reputation and good perceptions through good word of mouth. Many parents that enroll their child was through friends that had good experiences with their child here. When children had a good time, they would share with their parents the experience so that is what makes them trust us to spread the word. We currently have around 160 students across five branches.”

The preschool focuses on creative learning where they focus on six activities; architecture, fashion design, culinary arts, performing arts, music class and photography. “Like other kindergarten, we also follow topics that are provided by the Ministry of Education such as animals, vegetables and transportation but I don’t think the topics are not wide enough. So that is when the creative learning in the morning comes in before moving to the academic subjects in the afternoon,” Julia explained.

The workshop panelist explaining about plastic recycling for the monthly workshop

She further added, “the creative learning activities are different throughout the week. On Monday we have science experiments, Tuesday is visual arts while Wednesday is performing arts. Thursday is for culinary arts activities and finally on Friday, we have physical activities.”

Instead of dividing the students enrolled here by ages, they are divided into groups consisting of S, M, L and XL and the activities planned out are based on their development. Julia explained, “in S, it would be more focused on social & sensory skills. When they move to M and their motor skills have improved, the activities would be more intricate and they would progress more when they move to L and XL.”

Julia further explained, “when it comes to academics, we do not teach them by topics but by groups and there are certain benchmarks that they need to pass before they move to the next group so no one is left out as it is not about age but about what they can do. We make sure that all of our students master the basics such as talking, reading, writing and basic mathematics by the time the enter Primary School.”

Aside from explaining things, the kids get to work hands on during the workshop where this time, they all learn how to recycle plastics

Their school term is from January to December and their enrollment begins at the start of the year but they do accept enrollment all year round as Julia explained, “our creative learning is based on themes so it is different weekly and there’s no problem if you missed out a certain week as the themes are not connected.” She then further explained, “our monthly fees start at RM1,100 and we have three sessions where the first is half day until lunchtime and they would learn creative learning only and not the academics. Then we have extended day where they would learn the academics for another hour and finishes at 3PM. Finally, we have full day suntil 5PM for the working parents where additional activities such as piano classes are provided but at an additional cost.”

Julia also shared that, “the parents of the first batch whose kids are now in primary school shared that their children are much more creative and loves to create things as they are already used to it.” At the end of the school term, the preschool would organize an art exhibition with everything that the children had done from all the branches to promote more confidence among the children.

Visitors attending the preschool yearly exhibition

The Yellow Submarine Preschool has their branches in Ara Damansara, TTDI, Rumah Tangsi in Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya and Setia Alam. Aside from normal activities provided, they also do monthly workshops as well as school trips. Recently the children went to Pusat Sains Negara as part of the programme. Further information about their programs can be found on their Instagram as well as on Facebook.

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